Polished Smit ready for English league

2014-04-09 00:00

HAVING done his duty with the Dolphins for another domestic season, Daryn Smit is off to play for Ramsbottom Cricket Club in the Lancashire League.

It’s not the first time Smit has played in England as he turned out for Littleborough in the Central Lancashire League in 2009, shortly after he was married. Back then, he settled and adapted to conditions with aplomb, being the leading wicket-taker and finishing second in the batting averages.

Such a performance has seen Smit being in demand over the past five years by clubs in the league, particularly with him being an all-rounder, offering leg spin bowling and more than useful batting.

“I’ve turned it down time and again but this time round, after discussion with Sarah my wife, we decided to take up the offer from Ramsbottom,” said Smit.

“We both need a change and have accepted the challenge head on.”

Departing tomorrow, Smit arrives at his new base for the next four months on his fifth wedding anniversary on Friday, but there’s not much time to celebrate as he is in action on Sunday in a warm-up match before the league starts on April 20.

“We will be back in mid-August, at the business end of the league as the club determine where they are at in the various competitions, but I must return to join the Dolphins in preparing for the T20 Champions League in India in September/October, our prize for winning the domestic Ram Slam T20 competition,” said Smit.

As the club professional, Smit has been well looked after. “Ramsbottom has done everything for me. They asked me whether I would like to stay in a flat or cottage, giving me a choice of what I desired,” said Smit.

“Being a braai man, I asked for a place with a small garden and next thing, via e-mail, I get pictures of a two-bedroom bungalow, in a cul-de-sac, the perfect place to stay and braai.”

With accommodation taken care of, Smit gets a car and free gym membership at the local health club. “It’s another world being the club professional as such and there is even an evening set aside where players and those associated with the club get to meet the pro,” said Smit.

Having played provincial cricket since 2004, Smit is a polished player who understand the standards and principles of the game. He wants to be competitive and he wants to deliver for the club. He knows his responsibilities and what is expected of him.

“There is some pressure as the overseas professional and expectation from the club is high. I will be used for input on the field and in decision making,” he said. “I won’t be captain but will be the man they are watching. I will put in many overs as a bowler and be a key batsman, coming in at three or four.”

Ramsbottom could have made an astute signing. Smit, relieved of his wicket-keeping duties for the Dolphins this season with the arrival of Morné van Wyk from the Knights, returned to working on his leg spinners, finishing the season’s four-day campaign with great momentum in his favour.

“I was a little disappointed to reach the end of our season just as I started getting some wickets, especially my 5-5 against the Lions in 20 balls,” said Smit.

“I also got seven in an innings for the three-day amateur side and have worked hard at my bowling, getting a steady rhythm going. Being able to bowl more will get me ready for the Champions League, where the India pitches could work for me.”

But, before the cricket starts in earnest, there’s one small matter he is attending to, the highlight of his journey and an experience that already has him shaking with excitement.

“I am an ardent Everton fan and have managed to get tickets for next Wednesday’s Premier League clash at Goodison Park against Crystal Palace,” he said.

“It’s a dream come true and will be my first live match I’ve attended, having previously enjoyed a stadium tour of Goodison.”

As Ramsbottom’s professional, Smit joins illustrious company with the club having benefited from the services of Clive Rice, Australians Brad Hodge, Michael Clarke and Alex Doolan, West Indian Keith Arthurton, Kiwi Chris Harris and current Protea T20 skipper Faf du Plessis through the years.

Smit will be playing 50-over and T20 cricket for the club, mainly on Sundays but with the odd Friday evening and bank holiday fixture thrown in.

Smit’s 2013/14 One-Day Season

Matches 11

Innings 8

Runs 283

HS 53

Avg 70.75

Wkts 4

BB 2-39

Avg 79.00

Econ 4.71

T20 Season (2014)

Matches 12

Innings 8

Runs 124

HS 48

Avg 17.71

Wkts 8

BB 2-17

Avg 33.00

Econ 7.33

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